It’s very wise of travelers to look for detailed information before traveling to any new place in order to know more about the country that’s welcoming you, getting to know good tricks to spend less and having the same fun (always remembering not to harm our beautiful environment) is 100% possible anywhere. Well, let us help you with these 16 quick tips. Today’s turn is France!
1. Okay, so France is not just Paris. Let’s make that clear. Hundreds of other spectacular (and really cheaper) towns are waiting for you if you skip the capital. In one step you can save up a few hundreds of dollars.
2. For instance, four cities that are worth a visit (and won’t break the bank as much as Paris) are Nice, Chartres, Bordeaux and Montpellier. Hilly villages, the amazing cathedral, the fine wine and the home to a breathtaking opera house describe each scene of these four vibrant French cities.
3. In France, the rating system for hotels and lodges in general is very good. So you can get some good accommodation in two-star hotels that don’t say much to you but end up being of great quality.
4. If you definitely travel in a backpacker mode and don’t want to think too much, hostels will also be a good choice and you can find them all around the country (at pretty affordable prices if you dig a little bit!). Sites like Hostels.com or French Youth Hostels Association can give you many places to start off!
5. A good option for getting quality advice on where to stay depending on your budget is heading to the Tourist Office of the town. They always know what is best for all types of travelers and even can book for you. Just try to get to the city or town early enough so it’s not closed!
6. If you are one of us, and love the local experience, renting a house could be an excellent idea if you’re staying for more than a few days. It’s great to do this in smaller villages or in the countryside to get a really authentic and relaxed stay.
7. That said, arrange this kind of renting with more people, even if you don’t know them yet. Sites like TravBuddy work so well to get connected with other travelers that want to save up a little bit or just rather wander the world in company.
8. These kinds of accommodations not only save you money, but allow you to cook your own tasty dishes! Yes, local markets in France, are something you must visit. Typical fresh food like a simple mix of bread, brie and salami can make your day! And you’ll be supporting smaller towns economies that will make you fall in love with local cuisine.
9. Speaking of food… Another way to spend less when eating is not booking your accommodation with included meals. You have to make it clear that you don’t want it, because it’s usually automatically charged into your bill.
10. Food in France is generally pretty expensive, except if you know where to head. So you have to be mindful and look for the good old bakeries or small restaurants that have a fixed menu and offer a decent amount of dishes for you to taste typical French flavours.
11. Go for the glass of wine! This is cheaper than ordering a Coca-Cola or even water. French wine is really good, many times better than in any other European country, maybe paired with Italy. So taste it and pay less for your meals!
12. When it comes to transportation and roaming big distances in France, high-speed TGV trains are the absolute best. But they’re expensive… unless you are smart and buy your tickets in advance. Two or three months should be enough to make you pay up to 50% less.
13. In France, you can get your youth reduction card (Carte Jeune) for transportation whether you’re under 27, which will save you quite some money in all kinds of tickets and also works in countries like Spain, Germany, the UK… As long as you get it with Voyages-SNCF, the official online ticket distributor in France.
14. Especially in smaller towns, public transport is really good and cheap! In places like Provence, Alpes & Côte d’Azur, taking the tram to go almost anywhere is 1.5 euros or less. Even to airports! In bigger cities, buying a Citypass is great for free public museum entrances and free public transport as well!
15. Hitchhiking is a really affordable alternative in France, not to say that it’s one of the safest countries to do this. People’s kindness will take you from one coast to the other and it’s something amazing to do if you want to learn how locals actually live there, without polluting as much! Sharing is caring.
16. If you’re a night animal and want to enjoy French party, you should first, skip major cities, which are extremely overpriced for what you get, and second, drink some wine before heading to the club, so you save some drinks when in the club. They can easily cost from 10-15 euros, plus the entrance fee, which is around 20 euros.
With only a few of these tips, you can start creating your trip to France on a budget, which, if you haven’t noticed, is very focused on authenticity, trying to take care of the environment with your wise travel choices and soaking into this beautiful country’s culture, which won’t cease to amaze you with every landscape, local and bite of typical food!
Main photo by Jez Timms.